She gently broke the hug. I looked at her wishing she hadn’t done that. She was not oblivious of my mood so she smiled trying to make me feel better. 

“Let’s go in.” She said as she dragged me by my hand inside the garden. I wholeheartedly followed her as she moved to a table and we both sat down. The garden was busy with different kinds of activities. I could see many lovers discussing in a low lovely tone with hands handcuffed in each other’s. I heard some friends arguing about the just concluded football match between Chelsea and Barcelona; the worst argument I’d like to hear let alone indulge in. I was hearing them loud and clear because we were sitting just opposite their table and moreover Football fans are the lousiest set of people I know.

“Can we move to the other table?” I asked Amanda who shrugged at me request yet before I could explain, she was up. We moved to another table a bit far from these football fanatics. Just as a waiter approached us for our order, I heard a very interesting discussion or rather argument behind me. 

“You never told me you love me. You never did.” The girl, young and beautiful with eyes so bright protested. “I have been waiting for you to say it for months but never did. Why are you saying it now that I have found another guy?” She added. 

“But you know I love you. Even if I never said it, I must have shown it in several ways.” The boy said. 

I looked at him and saw a replica of myself. In his eyes were passion and love for the lady sitting in front of him whom from the discussion I gathered was supposed to be his girlfriend. 

“You should have said it. And since you didn’t, I felt all you wanted from me was friendship and just when I ripped myself of the love I have harboured for you years past, you appear to resurrect it again. I am in a relationship Kane, and I am sorry I can’t break up with my boyfriend.” The girl said and stood up. She was going to walk away, walk away from my emotional identical twin who has tears docked in his eyes. He jumped up and dragged her back but she pulled off. “You are late Kane. You are too late. If you want us to be friends still, I can give that but what you are asking for is not possible anymore.” She walked away and Kane slumped on his chair and sobbed. 

I was lost in the drama that I had no idea the waiter had been standing beside me waiting for my order. Amanda had placed hers and with so much interest watched me as I watch the two estranged lovers. 

“Tony!” She called out. I startled, looked at her, she was smiling, smile of confusion and curiosity. “What are you looking at? The waiter is waiting for you.” She said with a calm tone that could have been raised but it wasn’t. I smiled back and quickly ordered a chicken Suya with a Chivita juice. The waiter smiled and left. Amanda’s eyes were fixed on me which was in some way intimidating. I know I have hugged her freely few minutes ago but that was only an impromptu action, if she had not made the move, I wouldn’t have extended my arms let alone touched her. 

“What’s wrong?” She asked. “You have been looking at that girl for minutes now. Do you know her?”She threw in almost immediately. 

I gaped. I was out on my first date with a lady whom I was yet to profess my love to and she already has caught me staring at another lady; though I was not staring at the lady exactly but how do I explain that to her? How do I deny that without becoming suspicious? I smiled. “I don’t know her. I was just watching the drama she put up.” I finally said. 

“Oh!” She smiled back at me; a smile which restored my sinking spirit. “A guess that you know either her and or her boyfriend could pass.”

I was glad she was instigating a discussion yet I was not comfortable with the topic she has chosen to flag off our date. I smiled again and luckily for me, the waiter approached with our order. I opened my chicken Suya which was served in a ceramic plate in pieces and started eating alongside my juice; it was keeping me busy and I loved it. I raised my head to behold her staring at me like she was expecting me to do something. I looked at her in confusion and she smiled.

“Can you help me open my drink?” She asked in an expectant manner. 

I felt bad; bad because I have failed two tests in less than an hour and to think it was my first date kind of made it all annoying. She must have, if she was a smart girl figured that I was a chronic novice. Smartly I smiled again, trying to confuse her.

“Sorry about that. I guess I was just hungry.” I answered as I uncorked her bottle of Malta Guinness and poured it in a glass. 

“Thank you.” She smiled back and sipped her malt.

As I relaxed a weird thought hit me. Why was she expecting me to help her uncork the bottle? What was so hard in it that she couldn’t do it herself? I wondered if that was how girls behave generally on a first date or a continues action; something that I would have to do every day if we finally ended up together. I shook my head, I felt the need to state out my policies and make her understand what I can and cannot do no matter the amount of love involved, but I knew deep down within me that I cannot do that. I looked up at her and smiled and she reciprocated. I prayed and hoped nobody was watching like I was watching Kane and her friend, because if anybody was, they probably would have tagged us “smiling couple.” We smiled a lot, even in a situation where smile was not entirely necessary I instigated a smile because I probably lacked what to say and she always reciprocated. We ate our food in silence; silence that lasted for more than fifteen minutes. She finished her Shawama, wiped her hands with the serviette paper and brought her phone out of her handbag. I stared at her and smiled again, she did same. Before I could finish up with my food, she was totally engrossed in her phone. I was confused on what to do yet scared of who she was chatting with. I prayed it wasn’t her friends because they would definitely mouth-kill me. They have seen me and obviously did not like me, how much more if she told them what was going on. I had to take charge, I had to prove my status as a man and win her attention back and make up for the past silent hour. I brought out my phone, she stared scornfully confused at me; she must be wondering what calibre of man I was. I ignored her and quickly sent an enquiry SOS message to Frank and asked that he reply instantly as I was on the hot seat of his namesake’s “Who Wants to be Millionaire” programme. I dropped the phone on the table, it made a cracky sound and she looked at me, our eyes met and we smiled yet again. I wanted to ask her who she was chatting with yet I was scared she might flare up. We were not in any relationship yet so I felt I would be asking too much by demanding the knowledge who she was chatting with.

“You have a nice phone.” I stuttered. “Is that i-phone?” I asked even if I saw the logo boldly inscribed on the back of the phone which was facing me. She smiled at me and nodded. She obviously knew I had nothing to say yet I wanted to say something. She knew I was shy yet courageous. She knew I wanted a nice date yet I couldn’t make that happen. She has always been my angel so she intervened again.

“Yours is Tecno right?” She asked. She was engineering another discussion; a spinoff of my idea which would have died if she hadn’t picked it up.

“Tecno R7.” I nodded. 

“Oh!” she was excited. “Let me see, I have heard a lot about the phone. People call it ‘the beast’.”

“The beast?” I was shocked. What did I know? Nothing. I was just a novice in all angles to not have known what my phone was called in the market. “Why is that?” I asked as I handed the phone over to her. 

“I don’t know. But you should know. It’s your phone.” She scanned my phone. She tried gaining access to it but found out it was pass worded. She flashed the screen at me and I gave her a ‘what’ look. “The password.” She said.

“Oh!” I voiced and collected the phone from her. As I input the password, I thought it would have been more appealing if I had told her the password to input herself. I felt that might pass a message to her but again, another thought stuck me, what if she never cared? What if she was just out to catch fun, get me to sleep with her and walk away? “Here.” I gave her the phone hoping she doesn’t scroll through my messages. Just as she collected the message, I heard a message beep; it must be Frank; a reply to my SOS message. My heart started beating fast. How would she value me again if she found out that I was actually asking for help on how to push through with the date? “Can I check the message?” I asked quickly.

“Is it your girlfriend?” she teased.

“No!” I exclaimed assuredly.

“You sounded like you don’t have any?” 

There was no way I was going to let her know I was a virgin. I love her and the idea of me being a virgin might scare her away, even though I have shown her in more actions than words that I am one but to acknowledge it, was a no go. “I used to.” I lied.

“Oh. For some seconds past, I thought you are a virgin.” She said and my heart skipped. She read me just as I figured she would. I smiled avoiding the answer.

She handed the phone back to me. I saw the message, it was from Frank just as I had thought and it was detailed information on what and what to ask her to incite a conversation. I nodded with a silent smile on my lips. I relaxed on my seat, raised my head up ready to kick off the date properly.

“So Amanda, where are you from?” I asked.

She was standing with her handbag looking at me. “I am from Enugu. But I…”

“Why are you standing?” I interrupted not paying attention to what she said.

“I am sorry, I got a message from my friends, my dad is at my lodge. He wants to see me.”

“Your dad?” I was shocked. I stood up also and waved at the waiter.

“Don’t bother about that. I have settled it.”

“What? Why would you do that and when?” I felt insulted and astounded. “You shouldn’t have done that. Alright how much is it? I will just balance you.”

“I told you. Bill on me, remember?” She said smiling as she started walking toward the exit door. 

I walked beside her. “I am the man here. You…”

“Are you?” She interjected.

“Am I what?” I asked confused.

“Never mind, next time I will keep that in mind.”

“That means we are seeing again right?” I asked excitedly.

“Maybe, maybe not.” 

I got moody. I must have messed up the date. Even if something eventually worked out, the day’s incidence would not leave her memory in a hurry. I shrugged. It was my fault; I excitedly left the house without getting the proper directives needed from Frank. 

I stopped a cab and quickly passed her to meet the driver. After talking with the driver I waved at her and she entered the cab and told the driver where she was going. The driver looked at me and I nodded and he drove off. I stood watching the car disappear as a message beep alerted me that I have stayed longer than sensible. I brought out my phone angry and ready to lash Frank for sending the message late but when I checked, it was Amanda’s number instead. I gaped as I rattled my mind on what the content of the message might be.

…the story continues..


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